The week in Pop (& Hiss) and more
Pop & Hiss strives to provide the best, most relevant and entertaining music coverage of the week. Hey, it's a goal, be nice. Sometimes we have some posts that hit the mark. Sometimes we don't and others do. Here's a quick look at some of the best of what Pop & Hiss and The Times had to offer this week, as well as some stuff we missed.
From the ol' Pop & Hiss:
- Female music industry insiders talk gender, race, sexuality in pop music. Artists utilizing and exploring their sexuality through music isn't news -- it's part of their self-expression. But today, as much as ever, pop music's biggest players, especially female -– be it Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna, Katy Perry or Nikki Minaj -– have all found ways to harness their sexuality to their benefit.
- Electric Daisy leaving L.A. for Las Vegas; 'Good riddance,' says Coliseum commissioner. The ongoing brouhaha between Los Angeles politicos and promoters of dance-focused concerts has seemingly resulted in one of the nation's largest electronic music festivals leaving Los Angeles for Las Vegas. Insomniac Inc.'s two-day Electric Daisy Carnival, which last June drew between 80,000 and 100,000 people per day to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and adjoining Exposition Park, is leaving the Coliseum for Vegas after Insomniac's 13 years working with the L.A. venue.
- Fingerprints record store: Thriving despite music industry woes. Someone apparently forgot to tell store owner Rand Foster that people pluck their music from the clouds now, rather than exchange cash for it in bricks-and-mortar emporiums such as Fingerprints. Not only has Foster's indie venture survived 18 years of a drastically changing retail environment, but the soft-spoken entrepreneur also just doubled Fingerprints' footprint, moving to this space two times bigger than its longtime Belmont Shores home.
- Moby, Crystal Method top 'Dance for Equality' bill March 2 in Hollywood. Moby, the Crystal Method and artist Shepard Fairey will headline the Courage Campaign's "Dance for Equality" fundraiser on Tuesday, March 2, at Avalon in Hollywood in support of legal efforts defending same-sex marriages.
- 'American Idol': A cheat sheet to the top 24. Though the crop includes a diverse breadth of talent -- from country and soul crooners, to powerhouse divas -- it goes without saying the show remains, at its truest form, a competition to find a pop star.
- Mike Watt's 'Hyphenated-Man' opera, manifested as a short film. On Thursday morning, Pop & Hiss received a quick little note relating to San Pedro bassist/Stooge/composer Mike Watt's most recent project, his third opera, "Hyphenated-Man." In the missive was a link to a video by an Irish painter, Norton Wisdon, and features the artist listening to Watt's opera while working.
- Freddie Gibbs talks R&B collaborations, Nirvana, Odd Future and 'A Cold Day in Hell'. The quest for authenticity is often mocked in the cynical swamp of 21st century Internet existence, but honesty remains a cardinal virtue. In contemporary rap, few voices call out nonsense better than Freddie Gibbs.
- Forget the awards -- Mumford & Sons, Bieber, Lady Antebellum among Grammy sales winners. With just nine trophies handed out on its live CBS telecast, the actual award portion of the Grammy Awards is something of a subplot. Drama was provided by the likes of Esperanza Spalding and the Arcade Fire, who were each surprise winners, but it was Grammy-less U.K. folk-rockers Mumford & Sons who, as expected, experienced the largest post-Grammy sales gain.
- One song: Lucinda Williams' "Copenhagen." It’s a song about wonder, about loss, about heartbreak — about a moment. But Lucinda Williams can tell the story of "Copenhagen," a song from her return-to-form new album, "Blessed," which comes out March 1 on Lost Highway, better than anyone, which she does in a series of perfectly crafted lines.
- Showtime's 'Californication' goes punk rock with teenage cover band Queens of Dogtown. In the fourth season of Showtime’s hit dramedy "Californication," the long-suffering daughter of David Duchovny's Hank Moody did what every angst-filled teenage girl would do when her sex-and-booze addict of a father continued down a dark, spiraling path of nameless women, liquor and drugs: She joined a rock band.
- Ozzy Osbourne, Beach Boys, Syd Barrett figure into 2011 Record Store Day promotions. The musical treats for pop fans continue to roll out in conjunction with national Record Store Day on April 16, the annual event hosted by a consortium of independent record retailers to recognize merchants who still sell music from brick-and-mortar stores.
- Personal Playlist: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When can L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa snag any time to hear music? "I listen primarily when I work out," Villaraigosa says. "Or I'll have music on when people are over."
- Album reviews: Adele's '21' | Gil Scott-Heron's and Jamie xx's 'We're New Here' | The Low Anthem's 'Smart Flesh' | Colin Stetson's 'New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges' | Radiohead's 'The King of Limbs'
From the Times' dead-tree format:
- Children of the revolution. The offspring from a handful of country music's 1980s-era poet-rebels have taken up the anti-commercial torch in their own promising careers.
How 'bout a lil' excerpt of the aforementioned story? Boom:
Raised on the era's creative charge, [Colin] Gilmore, Justin Townes Earle, Chelsea Crowell, Dustin and Savannah Welch (with an all-girl roots band, the Trishas) make music without surrendering to major-label expectations. Their work is song-driven, long on vibe — be it Earle's retro-Southern, the Trishas' spare bluegrass, Gilmore's post-punk folk, Crowell's lush sensualism or Welch's urgently dark roots songs.
Good stuff to be had elsewhere!
- Pop & Hiss hasn't devoted space to the Drive-By Truckers' emotionally wrenching new album "Go-Go Boots," a collection of Southern rock 'n' soul and tales of working-class woes, but Greg Kot at our sister publication, the Chicago Tribune, recently spoke to the act. The story, "Drive-By Truckers nearly crash but live to rock another day," was posted Monday.
- "Industry Lashes Out at Mariah, Beyonce and Others Who Played for Qaddafi's Family" From Rolling Stone.
- Another music journalist defends L.A.'s pop girl-gone-wild Ke$ha. The next Madonna? The next Lauper? Either way, you love her, claims the Seattle Weekly.
- The Onion's A.V. Club wonders what songs you should listen to as you fall to your death.
- Will Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, be good for the city's music scene? WBEZ's Jim DeRogatis is doubtful, but has some suggestions.
Photoss: From left, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles Times); Fans at the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times); Lady Gaga (Getty Images)